Governor Promotes COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids at Brooklyn Center Elementary
Doses of the Pfizer vaccine formulated for younger children have started arriving in Minnesota. About 175 of the roughly 261,000 pediatric doses expected to arrive this week were administered Thursday at Brooklyn Center Elementary School.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz visited the school Thursday to highlight the state’s partnership with schools to get kids ages 5-11 vaccinated.
“I’m grateful to those parents for protecting not only their own children, but protecting their neighbors’ children, their neighbors and the rest of our community,” said Walz.
The state’s plan to distribute the low-dose Pfizer vaccine includes hosting vaccination clinics at schools. A recent survey showed about 80 percent of Minnesota school districts and charter schools have expressed interest in hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Education officials stressed that vaccinations would not occur without parental or guardian consent.
“It is important that we have a consent of our parents and our families for our students,” said Minnesota Education Commissioner Heather Mueller. “It’s not that this is going to happen in schools without any of our families or parents knowing.”
Pediatric offices and pharmacies are also a significant part of the state’s plan for vaccinating kids.
Vaccines Arrive Amid Delta Variant Spike
The vaccine doses arrived as cases of COVID-19 attributed to the delta variant continue to persist. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 3,718 new cases and 32 deaths were reported Thursday. That brings the cumulative total to 811,654 cases, which includes reinfections or cases of people getting COVID-19 more than once. Minnesota’s total number of deaths since the pandemic began stands at 8,793.
“This surge has been pretty relentless, the numbers are not encouraging at this point in time,” Walz said on Thursday.
The state’s seven-day average test positivity rate increased Thursday to 8.2 percent, well above the state’s 5 percent “caution” threshold. The rate had fallen since Oct. 4, but started going up again Oct. 21.
State Debuts Website for Child Vaccinations
The Minnesota Department of Health debuted a website this week with information about vaccines for children. The website is mn.gov/vaxforkids.
Meanwhile, the state is offering gift cards and scholarships as incentives to get more kids ages 12 to 17 vaccinated. As of data reported Nov. 2, 54 percent of kids ages 12-15 and 59 percent of Minnesotans ages 16-17 are fully vaccinated.
Under the governor’s “Kids Deserve a Shot” vaccine incentive program, the state is offering $200 Visa gift cards and a chance to win a $100,000 college scholarship. Kids ages 12 to 17 need to receive their first dose of vaccine by Nov. 9 to be eligible for the gift cards. All Minnesotans 12-17 who completed the vaccination series in 2021 are eligible for the scholarship drawings.